Review - Transference #1

"Welcome to espionage everyone."

One of the unwritten rules of time travel is that you should make every effort to preserve history as it is. Going back in time (or forward) will likely have an effect on subsequent time periods, so it's crucial that you leave things the way you found them. Sometimes though, there are time travelers with more nefarious motives, as in Transference #1 from Black Mask Studios. The issue is written by Michael Moreci, illustrated by Ron Salas, colored by Tamra Bonvillain and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Colton Moss and his elite team of special agents run counter-terrorism operations utilizing a secret form of time travel technology called "transference," which enables them to send their consciousnesses back in time - but, when Colton's past is altered to reshape his life in the present, he discovers this technology isn't as exclusive as he thought. Now Colton must prevent a large-scale insurgency in the U.S. - and do so in the transference-past, where a terrorist's consciousness could be in any body, so everybody is a potential suspect.

There's a lot going on in Transference #1; so much so that it's a little overwhelming. Moreci throws a slew of characters at the reader all at once, presenting them alongside interactions that are equally as in-depth. The premise of the book is pretty clever and the time-traveling aspects of the story work in a way that demonstrates the ripple effects of individual actions. That time-traveling aspect though also makes the book a little confusing on the first read, as the subtle nuances of altered timelines aren't readily apparent upon first reading. The pacing of the story works well for the issue though, despite the jumping around nature of the story itself.

The illustrations by Salas add a clean, formal feel to the script. Salas renders characters who are defined by sharp angles and distinguished facial features, both of which combine in a way that gives the characters emotion. It's a pretty simple illustrative style that is very effective for depicting the action in the story. Many of the panels stand out well against the empty gutters, with some panels standing out a bit more for emphasis on the action contained within. Bonvillain's colors are smooth and have a matte finish to them.

Transference #1 is an interesting first issue based on a familiar premise in time travel. Colton slowly discovers that the work he's chosen comes with consequences and not all of them are entirely under his control. Moreci's script is full of interesting characters, but is very daunting for the reader as it features a lot in the way of story (and time travel confuses things a bit). Salas' illustrations are concise and do a good job of depicting the action. Transference #1 has a lot of promise as a series, demanding the reader put in the effort to fully appreciate the world being laid out in front of them.

Transference #1 is in stores July 8.